saarf.london on tour , Eroica Gaiole 2019

Races and Events

I managed to attend this years Eroica Gaiole , thanks to the hospitality of my Danish friend Claus ( aka Velo Claus ) , founder of Team Patelli Denmark and a sponsor of Eroica South Africa .

I arrived late on Friday , after being foolish enough to miss time my leaving home for the airport , but all was good in the end

The Saturday was spent catching up with friends and meeting Legends .

I caught up with Srs Aldo and Marco Gios on their stall with my good friend Dave , who just had an exact replica of Roger De Vlaminck’s own Gios , painstakingly hand made by Mr Aldo Gios himself , the Gios family still take commissions for bespoke frames …

Dave told that Mr De Vlaminck cut the ends off his Campagnolo pedals to get the tension he wanted with feet in the cages …

Mr Davide Campagnolo was present , with his family brand , Campagnolo sponsor Eroica ..

I had a wander around the worlds greatest vintage bike market and went to see my well regarded friend , one of the most established vintage traders Beppe on his stall .

Beppe is a well connected man , who knows many of the Italians involved in the industry from past to present , and whilst at his stall , I had the honour of meeting the man who made the mythical Cinelli Laser bikes , Mr Andrea Pesenti .

The Legend arrived with his own bike , and very kindly gave me a few minutes to talk about it ….

Staggering piece of work , best bike of the festival for me , fillet brazed , under bb rear brake calliper mount , internal cable routing , integrated seat post , and aero tubes .

I walked back into the main square area and then had the good fortune to bump into Mr Federico Stanzani , with whom I have become friends after he told me ride this Cinelli Laser Tandem through Gaiole in 2016

Federico is the Columbus brand manager ,

And he said Mr Antonio Colombo himself , owner of the brands Columbus and Cinelli , was at the festival for the promotion of the centenary edition Columbus Steel tube set. I had actually met Mr Colombo in his Milano art gallery back in 2016…

I left Federico and was wandering around again when I walked straight into Mr Antonio Colombo … I was stunned when he said he remembered me …

Was really good to talk with him and his partner , who is instrumental in design for the Cinelli Winged store . I said I had seen Mr Pesenti earlier , to get a photo of the two of them with the Laser bike would have been pretty much historical .

My friend Simone won a prize for the Masi he built , he told me he took a month and a half to finish it , hand made bike usually take a week .

Simone is the youngest artisan bicycle builder in Italy currently , with a fascinating narrative .

When he was 10 he knew he wanted to build bike frames , so knocked on the door of the late , great legend Dario Pegoretti , who told him to watch him weld .

Simone is now Masi frame builder , working with Mr Alberto Masi at the atelier in Milano , Simone actually works at the late Mario Confente’s bench , and honours him in his work by implementing the Spade symbol .

Here is a Masi Stradivari , hand made by Simone and owned by a Japanese rider , shots taken on the ride , when the Gent’s chain had snapped ..

Some of the other gems seen…

Sunday was ride day …

With blessings from legend , friend and Eroica Global Man Amedeo at the start , we were off to a good ride …

Our group included Iron Man contestant Jean and Jens , a Team Molteni Denmark founder member .

Patelli is an old established artisan frame builders from Bologna , Claus had an aero model

And Jean had an earlier model , also equipped with Cambio Rina…

Vastly underrated , Cambio Rina was practically the best performing Italian gruppo of it’s era .

I rode a 1985 Colnago Nuovo Mexico , with a 1st gen Campagnolo Rally triple crankset , a 2nd gen Rally rear mech , and the rest 2nd gen Super Record

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As I was riding later I managed to face plant , not paying attention to riding , ( easy to be distracted by the beauty around ) , but still finished

with another flash of genius , I managed to get to the airport too late and missed another flight , so stayed in Pisa then flew the next day .

Another magical Eroica , the brand has spread it’s wings world wide , looking forward to many more ..,

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Eroica 500 @ Eroica Britannia 2019

Races and Events

I recently attended the U.K. Eroica event , held by Eroica Britannia organisers , the 500 .

Instead of the usual 3 day festival , The Eroica 500 took place for one day only , Sunday the 18th of August , riding out from Bakewell for a scenic 65 mile ride around the surrounding Peak District .

I rode on my circa 1985 Colnago Nuovo Mexico , in the company of legend Doctor D

Eroica globetrotter Mr Amedeo Polito was present , always a pleasure to see , and it was nice to meet the U.K. organisers . True Eroica enthusiasts , they started riding Eroica in Chianti back in 2004 , and managed to secure U.K. rights to run an event in 2016

The region is an excellent choice to host the event , and I look forward to riding the next event .

The start at Bakewell , I managed to be possibly the only one to post there number on the front of jersey , I was always backwards …

I found this on the Eroica 500 gallery

The Tommasini Factory …

Mr Tommasini

I was in Tuscany recently , and for my birthday , a good friend arranged for me to visit the Tommasini factory .

I had met Mr Irio Tommasini previously , and we talked about his builds , the type of steels he used and who in the current sphere of artisan frame builders he liked …

On this occasion I was unable to see him as he was attending matters on his olive farm , instead , I was fortunate to meet his two daughters , Roberta and Barbara …

The bike in hand is the iconic ‘Diamanté model , named by Roberta on the right , because that is what she saw in the multi shape tubes ..

I was given a tour of the factory very kindly by Barbara , a lady of in-depth knowledge of the science of frame building , fascinating to talk to , aware of geometry , physics and able to predict a frames performance from it’s movement , like a professor ….the gentleman bellow is involved in the iconic frame painting process …

Forks and frames , Tommasini provides restoration services to older frames ..

As well as tailor made frames , a prime example of serendipity striking , at that moment one of Tommasini’s highly skilled in-house frame builders was actually working on Barbara’s personal gravel bike frame ….

Barbara also explained the Tommasini ethos to me .

Irio Tommasini has selected the best of the best to work in the in house production process , all are long serving staff , numbers have applied to work within , but only those that reached Mr T ‘ s exacting standards got accepted .

Only the highest grades of Italian steels , aluminium and titanium are used to produce the frames , no carbon ones are produced as Tommasini are unable to source Italian material .

The lugs are produced in house … one of the latest model , steel framed gravel bike , the , the ‘ fire ‘..

This an anniversary edition Super Prestige made from Columbus SLX steel , only 10 more will be made

It was an unforgettable birthday experience , a chance to see behind the scenes of an iconic artisan’s factory , and learn so much about what it takes to understand the true art of fine frame building , many , many thanks again.

Happy Birthday Mr Colnago

Mr Colnago

I was blessed to have been invited to the London unveiling of a very , very special road bike ….

Made in honour of Mr Ernesto Colnago ‘s 87 th birthday ,

A one of a kind Colnago ‘ 87 ‘ , a 24 carat gold plated 2nd generation Colnago Arabesque , with Campagnolo 50 th anniversary gruppo …

I managed to wish Mr Colnago happy birthday …

And thanked Mr Alex Colnago …

And I managed to meet the Steve McQueen of pro cycling , Mr Giuseppe ‘ Beppe ‘ Saronni ,

Happy Birthday Mr Colnago , thanks for the joy you bring !

Colnago C64 Disc Gold Private Collection

Dream bikes and frames

Whilst at the Rouleur London show I stopped by the Colnago stand , and managed to get around the limited edition Colnago C64 Disc Gold Private Collection…

One of only 64 C64 Gold Private Collection models , to celebrate Mr Colnago’s 86 th birthday and 64 years of the Colnago company , only available via the factory at roughly £15,000 .

The most advanced of the ‘C’ range yet , with wider tyre clearance and disc brakes …

Mr and Mr Gios

Mr Gios

While attending L’Eroica Gaiole , Italia 2018 , I had the pleasure of bumping into my friend , Mr Marco Gios again at his family stall ….Marco’s father , the Legendary Aldo Gios was also there … some fantastic examples of Gios bikes at the stall too

And this custom built for a friend of mine…

Marco also had a modern example of Gios design , a gravel bike , which he kindly let me test briefly …
Disc brake set up , carbon forks and a Columbus steel frame , quite striking I thought with the blue and orange decor.


Also of note are the wooden rims on the wheels   , I met an ex pro who used to compete on steel , he said he used wooden rims on Paris Roubaix as they helped absorb the cobbles , so handy on the Strada Bianca then! 

L’Eroica , Gaiole in Chianti , 2018

Races and Events

This years festival was a little different , I got a little ‘behind the scenes’ action .

Instead of riding , I helped my good friend on his stall , and catching up with everyone …

My good friend Beppe , proprietor of the best stall of the festival … here with fellow trader , colleague and friend , Matteo….

Some of the treasure in Beppe and Matteo’s corner …

An Art Decor Colnago C35

A rare Ortelli , made by ex rider Vito Ortelli from Faenza , Vito taught Masi and Cinelli how to build frames …

A Cinelli Pista and Super Corsa …

I also managed to see my friend Paolo at his stall , full of prestige vintage treasure , here with a rare Colnago C35 MTB…

Paolo also had this show stopping Colnago Oval CX ….

And this very rare Colnago Mexico ‘Moscow’ Crono bike , the only Mexico produced with ribs inside chain stays …

plenty of treasure on other stalls in the market too .. like this F Moser Crono

I said ‘Hi!’ to the organisers of Eroica , the founder , Mr Giancarlo Brocci ….

legendary Mr W N Hakateyaman …

Seen again here with my good friend and colleague from Retro Velo Romania , Alexandru

And Mr Amedeo Polito..

Also caught up my friend Joshua , (far right) who has arguably one of the best life / work balances I know , Campagnolo global communications , and who very kindly introduced me to Mr Davide Campagnolo , the third generation of his family running the legendary prestige Italian cycling components brand ….

Joshua also kindly introduced me to the author of legendary derailleur blog http://www.disraeligears.co.uk , Mr Mike Sweatman , with whom my legendary colleague Alexandru had a great chat over beer with …

Alexandru and I working hard …

I also had the pleasure of seeing Mr Marco Gios and his father Aldo , of Gios bikes ,,,

At the Gios stand a new gravel bike was on display , which Marco let me ‘ test ‘ …

Also attending the festivities was the legendary Mr Irio Tommasini …

It was fantastic talking with him ,he spoke of the Super Prestige model , we talked about the Diamanté model with it’s asymmetric Columbus MS tubing , Mr Tommasini also spoke of his regard for U.S.A builder Mr Richard Sachs , and for my friend Simone , Mr Alberto Masi’s frame builder and business partner , I asked if young Simone is “the new Mario Confente” , to which Mr Tommasini replied ” Simone is better, more dynamic ”

This is Simone D’Urbino T’omby , the youngest artisan frame builder in Italy at just 22 , he started learning his trade aged 10 from the late , great , Mr Dario Pegoretti …

The day of the ride , it was raining when we started opening up Beppe’s stall at around 6 am , by around 9 am , things were better ….Even though I was not riding , I still had a great time , down for 2019 Eroica Gaiole certainly .

More photos here and here

Mr Tommasini

Mr Tommasini

While at Eroica Gaiole in Chianti 2018 , I got the chance to meet Mr Irio Tommasini , the legendary frame builder , pictured here with another legend , Mr Mike Sweatman of the renowned vintage derailleur blog http://www.disraeligears.co.uk …,

I managed to speak to Mr Tommasini again later on , and he told me (among other things) of his high regard for Richard Sachs of U.S.A. , and my friend Simone , partner of Alberto Masi , and at just 22 years of age , Italy’s youngest artisan frame builder …..